The cryptocurrency industry in Australia is facing increased inspection from authorities that leads to banks hesitating to collaborate with cryptocurrency exchanges and companies. National Australia Bank (NAB) has joined other leading financial institutions including Westpac Banking, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group in blocking payments to high-risk cryptocurrency exchanges .
Risks of Cryptocurrency Fraud
NAB recently implemented measures to block money transfers to specific cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. The primary concern quoted by the bank is the risk of cryptocurrency fraud. The Director of Group Investigations and Fraud at NAB Chris Sheehan emphasized that these scammers are part of organized transnational criminal groups. He said “We are seeing them increasingly using cryptocurrency exchanges to send stolen funds quickly and often overseas.”
Growing Cryptocurrency Scams
According to the National Australia Bank Australians who fell victim to cryptocurrency scams lost AUD 221 million (US$ 151 million) last year. Recent data from the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange reveals that nearly 50% of scams reported in the past 30 days are related to cryptocurrencies. While NAB did not specifically name the affected cryptocurrency exchanges it labeled all of them as high-risk.
Binance and Australian Trading Volume
Binance faced challenges as its Australian arm’s banking partner Cuscal terminated cooperation due to escalating fraud concerns. Additionally major bank Westpac prohibited customers from transferring funds to the cryptocurrency exchange in May. Australia had emerged as one of the largest and most vibrant cryptocurrency markets that generates billions of dollars in daily trading volume . However actions taken by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) targeting cryptocurrency exchanges have significantly impacted trading volumes which causes a decline.
Implications for the Industry
While these measures aim to mitigate fraud risks they also hinder the growth and activity of cryptocurrency exchanges . The industry will need to adapt and find solutions to address concerns around fraud and security while maintaining a conducive environment for innovation and growth.